Don Wayne Johnson was born in 1941 in Orangeburg, SC, the second of five boys to Theodore and Myrtle Johnson.
Don played football, basketball and baseball in high school where he earned the nickname “Jet” - an endearing name his family still calls him to this day. He was also senior class president at Orangeburg High School.
Don received a bachelor's degree in Economics at Wofford University in SC. There he was Vice President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity and President of the Blue Key Honor Society.
Don met his future wife, Charlotte “Cindy” Cole, while on college spring break. It was love at first sight - they married 4 months later. Their love affair lasted almost 60 years. Daughters Pamela and Mia were followed by sons, Michael and David.
After graduating, Don worked at the Federal Reserve Bank and later was Group Manager for the Corporate Office of Life of Virginia. After 15 years in the insurance business, Don made a career change into manufacturing. He relocated the family to Gulfport, MS to work at Gulf Coast Tool & Die and later Bausch & Lomb. He then accepted a promotion to manufacturing manager at United Technologies back in his home state of SC where he remained for 10 years.
He continued to work in manufacturing for the rest of his career. His final employer was North American Lighting (NAL) - first as plant manager of the Flora, Illinois facility. He was then relocated to Muscle Shoals, AL to build, start and manage the new NAL plant. Don retired from NAL after 14 years when he was in his mid-70’s.
Don lived for his family and was a constant strength in our lives. He planned wonderful family vacations at both the beach and mountains, always including his beloved mother-in law Eileen. We can't recall Don ever taking a vacation with “buddies” to go golfing or hunting or fishing. Family was the most important thing to him and every vacation he planned was a family adventure. Our favorite memory is he loved to cook - steaks on the grill, spaghetti and fresh boiled peanuts. He also had a wicked sense of humor that people tell us would catch them off-guard and then have them laughing about it hours and days later.
Sadly, Don started having memory problems and was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Our hope was for him to remain in the comfort of his home, surrounded by family.
We recently found a note where he expressed his struggle with memory loss saying he didn’t understand what was happening - but that he loved God and knew he would be in Heaven someday.
Don lived a full life. Yes, that life had its ups and downs, but he was our constant source of strength and a rock of stability. He gave us an incredible life and we are proud of all that he accomplished. We take comfort knowing that he is now in heaven with his first born son, Michael, his parents, and brothers Al, Glen and Ted, mother-in-law Eileen and brother-in-law Vince, who predeceased him. He will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his loving wife, Cindy, daughters Pamela, Mia and son David, and granddaughters Riley and Michal, and his brother Dicky
We want to sincerely thank Shoals Hospice staff - Kristen, Lesa and Marlene for their kindness and the tender love and care they gave Don in his final months.
Please click the link to view slide show: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/e/2PACX-1vT0me-YV_QnM_Evwvrq1EImvrK9e3TtfVAxcKTk3JijoSFAw8SCg7Hb7XVniF2bZRFVmV9up2ANuhOj/pub?start=true&loop=true&delayms=5000
Services will be announced at a later date due to weather conditions.
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